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John's Pass Fishing Report: Cooler Water Off-Shore Makes Kings Hotter

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On: Tue, Aug 18, 2015 at 10:57AM | By: Captain Mark Hubbard

Will Trippett from St. Petersburg

Inshore- Brayton Ross from Dunedin was fishing with his brother and dad from Hub’s Beach behind our gift shop using live shrimp on a slow outgoing tide around sundown and they caught a few nice snook. Victor Prieto and his buddy Ramon Rodriguez were fishing from the north side of the Johns Pass jetty in the eddy of the current. They caught redfish and sheepshead while using live shrimp and also saw multiple mackerel, flounder, and mangroves swimming the area too.

Dale Crook from Seminole was fishing the swash channels of Madeira Beach, catching redfish on live shrimp. Black drum are still being hooked under the bridge, but are mostly breaking off the anglers using lighter tackle. There are still a few tarpon around the passes, but they will be heading offshore soon to spawn and then head south for the winter until their May return next year.

Near shore- The red grouper are still out in the 60- to 90-foot range, hunting the bait on the larger areas of hard rock bottom. The gags are pushing in a bit closer and we’re seeing them in 50 to 70 feet now. The shallower they get the more aggressive they seem to be, so make sure to keep your hand on the crank if you are targeting those fat shallow water grouper with big baits.

The water has cooled a little, but the kingfish are not real thick yet in the near-shore waters, though their fall run is in the near future. Sharks are still around the near-shore waters, but as the waters cool they will thin out, giving way to the cooler water and larger shark species. Cooler waters bring the white sharks and makos closer to our beaches!

Offshore- Our recent mid-week 39-hour did well on the amberjack that were thick on the deepwater wrecks. There were also plenty of sharks, making jack fishing challenging, but we were still able to nearly limit out our boat with big jacks. Last weekend’s 39-hour showed the same amberjack aggressiveness and shark problems.

However, the grouper bite improved on the mid-week 39-hour compared to the weekend. The grouper were still picky on the mid-week trip, but we were at least seeing beautiful shows and we did well on the scamp grouper in the six- to eight-pound range. The larger red and gag grouper were a bit pickier, really requiring a long patient soak before they would take the bait.

The water has cooled a bit offshore and that has the kingfish excited. We caught one monster king while trolling and hooked two more while flat lining at anchor. We also hooked a handful of pelagic that simply spooled reels before we were able to turn the fish around or even slow them down. The captains attributed these runs to wahoo or the large smoker kings.

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